Archive for July, 2013

Pointers for protecting feet from skin cancer

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Walking on the beach, frolicking in the surf, participating in sports, strolling through a theme park while on vacation – your feet will carry you through a lot of fun this summer. But can paying attention to them help you avoid the most common form of cancer in America? Possibly, experts say.

Each year, more than 1 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Yet only 32 percent of Americans use sunscreen to protect themselves from the sun’s damaging rays, NCI says in its Cancer Trends Progress Report.  Even when sunscreen is applied, the feet are often neglected.


“While skin cancers typically appear on areas of sun-exposed skin like the face, arms and hands, they can also occur on areas that get much less sun, such as the feet,” says Dr. Joseph Caporusso, a podiatrist and president of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). “With flip-flops and sandals being common summer foot attire, more Americans than ever are exposing their feet to the sun’s potential harmful rays.”

Sun exposure, however, isn’t the whole story when it comes to skin cancers on the feet. More often, skin cancers of the feet can be linked to exposure to viruses or chemicals, chronic inflammation or irritation, or even inherited traits, according to APMA.

“Unfortunately, the skin on our feet is often overlooked during routine medical checkups,” Caporusso notes. “Yet, foot health can be an indicator of overall health. It’s important for everyone to have their feet checked regularly by today’s podiatrist for any signs or symptoms of skin cancer.”

APMA offers a few tips for protecting your feet this summer:

* Apply the same broad-spectrum sunscreen you use on the rest of your body to your feet, including the tops, on and between the toes, and even the soles of your feet. Reapply every two hours when you’re out in the sun and more frequently if you spend a lot of time in and out of the water.

* Conduct regular self exams of your feet. Look for signs of problems, such as cracking or sores. Keep in mind that freckles and moles on the soles of the feet are very unusual, and may be a sign you should see a podiatrist.

* Be aware of the warning signs for malignant melanoma – the most deadly type of skin cancer. This type of cancer may occur on the skin of the feet and on occasion, beneath a toenail. Learn the ABCDEs of melanoma: Asymmetrical lesions, Border irregularity, Color variation, Diameter larger than a pencil eraser, and Evolving characteristics of any of the ABCD traits. If you notice a mole, freckle or lesion with any of these characteristics, have your health care provider take a look.

* Skin cancer of the feet can easily be mistaken for other, less serious problems. For example squamous cell carcinomas, the second-most-common type of skin cancer, may resemble a plantar wart, fungal infection, eczema, an ulcer or other common dermatological condition.

* Skin cancers in the lower legs, ankles and feet may look very different from those that occur in the rest of the body. Podiatrists are uniquely qualified among medical professionals to treat lower extremities, so their knowledge and training can help patients detect both benign and malignant skin tumors early.

To learn more and find a podiatrist in your area, log on to

Courtesy of BPT

Fitness tips to get ready for summer fun

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

It’s time to get ready for vacations, activities with family and friends and of course, swimsuit season. To help you prepare, there are some simple fitness tips you can follow to look and feel good this summer season.

Celebrity trainer and spokesman for the makers of Dr. Scholl’s(R), Dolvett Quince, helps people to look and feel their best on a daily basis.

“Summer is just a few short months away,” Quince says. “Getting your body ready for summer requires full involvement of one’s self. You need to be prepared mentally as much as you invest in yourself, physically. So, you need to be ready from your head to your toes – it’s a full body commitment. Hard work aside, you’ll be sure to enjoy the new you as you reach your goal.”

He has a few tips to help you tackle your workout routines and get your body ready for your summer wardrobe:

* Stay hydrated. Drinking water helps flush your system, and as a bonus, it keeps you from feeling bloated.

* Swimwear, shorts and dresses show off the legs, so be sure to target that area. Do squats and lunges to help tone the thighs and glute area.

* Eat plenty of fiber. Remember you can get fiber from many different foods, including delicious summer fruits such as raspberries, blueberries and strawberries!

* Wear the right footwear. You don’t want your workout routine halted by injuries or soreness in your feet or legs. Dr. Scholl’s(R) Active Series(TM) Replacement Insoles offer targeted Triple Zone Protection – in the ball of the foot, the arch, and the heel – to help protect feet with every step. These insoles can help relieve and prevent pain for those suffering from shin splints, runner’s knee and plantar fasciitis.

* Add weights to your workout routine. They don’t have to be heavy to help trim and tone your muscles.

* Keep up the workout, even while on vacation. Add a little variety to the routine with yoga or a jog along the beach. Time your workouts in the morning so you can enjoy the rest of your day.

* As always, be sure to exercise responsibly and consult with a fitness expert to ensure you use proper form.

Summer and warmer weather will be here before you know it, so get started right away to show off your physical fitness and summer-ready body. Put Quince’s fitness tips to use now to get your body toned and ready.

Courtesy of BPT

Summer health: stop frequent heartburn

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Summer is here, which means it’s time to pack your bags for vacation, dust off your beach umbrella and fire up the grill. Unfortunately many people will not only feel the summer heat outside with friends, but also inside their chest. Summer is prime time for heartburn. 

Barbecue season is the time of the year when people experience frequent heartburn symptoms the most, according to a recent survey by Wakefield Research for P&G, which brings you Prilosec OTC(R). The survey revealed that many frequent heartburn sufferers – those who experience heartburn two or more days per week – are not treating symptoms as effectively as possible, and there is a general lack of understanding about heartburn and available treatments. 

One of the top misconceptions is that all over-the-counter (OTC) heartburn treatments are the same. Although frequent heartburn symptoms can be reduced with antacids or H2 blockers, proton pump inhibitors are indicated specifically for frequent heartburn.

There are important differences among the available therapies:


* Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) treat frequent heartburn by shutting down many of the acid pumps in the stomach and stopping symptoms before they start. Effects can last 24 hours.

* Histamine2 (H2) blockers partially block production of acid in the stomach. The effect of H2 blockers generally lasts six to 12 hours.

* Antacids neutralize existing stomach acid and provide relatively rapid but short-term relief of heartburn symptoms lasting one to three hours.

Two myths many believe are that drinking milk can help relieve symptoms and that weight gain has no impact on frequent heartburn. In actuality, a glass of milk increases one’s acid production (like any food) and maintaining a healthy weight is one key to treating heartburn. 

Dr. Su Sachar, gastroenterologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, says that sufferers do not have to accept frequent heartburn as “normal.”

“One way to treat frequent heartburn is to take a medication that can help block the acid that causes heartburn, so you don’t get it in the first place,” Dr. Sachar observed. “It’s possible that, while taking just one pill a day as directed, a 14-day course of Prilosec OTC can control, and in many cases, eliminate frequent heartburn symptoms.

Prilosec OTC may take one to four days for full effect and should not be taken for more than 14 days or more often than every four months unless directed by a doctor. It is not intended for immediate relief.” 


People can take measures to avoid heartburn symptoms this summer. Dr. Sachar offers the following tips for those suffering from frequent heartburn:

* Get educated. One of the best defenses is to arm yourself with information. With all the over-the-counter medications available, my patients are often overwhelmed and don’t know what is right for them. Additionally, people often fall prey to the common myth that experiencing symptoms daily is normal, without realizing there are treatments available. The more you know about frequent heartburn, the better you will be able to treat it. 

* Talk to your doctor about the right treatment for you. Dr. Sachar recommends over-the-counter PPIs, like Prilosec OTC because it’s possible with just one pill a day to block the acid and stop heartburn before it starts for a full 24 hours of zero heartburn. It’s possible while taking Prilosec OTC. Use as directed for 14 days to treat frequent heartburn. Do not take for more than 14 days or more often than every four months unless directed by a doctor. Not for immediate relief.

* Quit smoking. Smoking relaxes the valve at the top of your stomach, allowing excess stomach acid to reflux into your esophagus.

For more information on how to best manage your frequent heartburn or to see if you qualify for a free sample, visit

Courtesy of BPT

Summer survival tips: the medicine cabinet edition

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

You can’t avoid it: Summer activities mean bites, bumps, burns and bruises. Make sure you’re ready by stocking up on these medicine-cabinet basics:

Over-the-counter pain relievers

Summer is the time when people are breaking out golf clubs, gardening tools and baseball gloves. All that activity increases the likelihood of muscle aches, strains and sprains. For basic relief, experts recommend over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers such as naproxen sodium, ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Although most mild injuries can be treated successfully at home, you should see a doctor if you experience numbness or an inability to move without significant pain.


Sunscreen and lotions

Sunburn can, of course, be prevented by protecting your skin with sunscreen or clothing whenever you’re outdoors. But if you forget, treatments such as a lotion that contains aloe vera can provide symptom relief. OTC pain relievers don’t heal or prevent damage to skin, but they can reduce the pain, swelling and discomfort associated with sunburn. These are especially beneficial when taken during the first 24 hours of sun exposure.

Hydrocortisone, topical creams and antihistamines
Insect bites are as much a part of summer as sunshine. If you’re stung by an insect and the stinger is stuck in your skin, try to remove it carefully to prevent the release of more venom. For any bite or sting, wash the area with soap and water and apply a cold pack or cloth filled with ice to reduce pain and swelling. A pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, may also help with any associated pain. A topical cream containing hydrocortisone can be used to provide itch relief. You can also take an OTC antihistamine containing diphenhydramine if you have a mild allergic reaction.

Most people have mild reactions to insect bites and experience little more than an itching or stinging sensation and mild swelling that will disappear within a day or so. Signs and symptoms of a severe reaction can include nausea, facial swelling, difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, and deterioration of blood pressure and circulation. If any of these occur, you should call for help immediately.

Heartburn medicines

Warm weather means baseball season and backyard barbecues – which can also mean repeated cases of heartburn after too many chili dogs and beverages.

Heartburn is most often described as a burning sensation behind the breast bone that moves up toward the neck or throat. This occurs when stomach acid irritates the normal lining of the esophagus. People may also experience acid regurgitation with heartburn, which is the sensation of stomach fluid coming up through the chest into the mouth. Less common symptoms that may also be associated with gastro esophageal reflux include unexplained chest pain, wheezing, sore throat and cough, among others.

Planning ahead and knowing which OTC treatments may help is essential to keeping your summer gatherings pleasant. Bring along a few over-the-counter treatments, like antacids or H2 blockers, when you head out for summer festivities. People who have heartburn at least twice a week might want to talk to their doctor about taking a proton pump inhibitor such as omeprazole or lansoprazole.

Diarrhea medications

If your summer vacation plans include traveling to new and far-flung places, it’s a good idea to be prepared for certain stomach ailments. Travelers’ diarrhea, a digestive tract disorder that causes loose stools and abdominal cramps, is caused by consuming contaminated food or water. Though this illness is irritating and may disrupt a day or two of vacation, it usually isn’t serious and can be treated at home. 

To reduce your risk, be careful about what you eat and drink while traveling. If you do develop diarrhea, it may go away without treatment. If not, bismuth subsalicylate can decrease the frequency of your bathroom trips and shorten the duration of your illness.  

Tip: When buying OTC medications, you can often save money by purchasing store-brands. Store-brand OTCs have the same efficacy as national brands and meet or exceed Food and Drug Administration quality standards, but cost an average of 36 percent less, according to Perrigo, a Michigan-based pharmaceutical company that manufactures and distributes most of the over-the-counter medications found under store-brand labels at leading retailers, grocers, club stores and pharmacies.

Courtesy of BPT

Flat-screen dangers: The summer safety risk and what parents should know

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Flat-screen%20dangersFor many families, summer vacation means children will spend more hours at home than they do during the school year. Extra time at home may expose children to unexpected risks from surprising sources – such as an unstable television.

 ”Children are needlessly suffering from unintentional injuries at an alarming rate,” says a 2009 SafeKids report. “The risks that children face go far beyond a sprained ankle or a skinned knee. Every 101 minutes, a child in the dies from unintentional injury … .”

Accidental injury is the top killer of children younger than 14, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the overall number of accidental injuries to children has declined, the CDC reports, certain types of injury – like those caused by unstable TVs – have increased.

Between 2000 and 2010, 176 people died as a result of TVs tipping over on them, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) report “Instability of Televisions, Furniture and Appliances: Estimated Injuries and Reported Fatalities.” Ninety-six percent of those deaths were children younger than 18. In 2010, the report estimates 20,000 emergency room visits were the result of tipping TVs – a 25 percent increase since 2006.

“We view (the instability of televisions) as one of the most dangerous hidden hazards in the home,” says Scott Wolfson of the CPSC.

“Children like to climb on furniture,” says Inez Tenenbaum, chairwoman of the CPSC. “Placing TVs on furniture not intended for them or having furniture that is not secured can have tragic consequences. These tragedies can be prevented by taking low-cost steps.”

“Fortunately, consumers have many resources for making their TVs, and especially their flat screens, as secure as possible,” says Ryan Hagberg, director of consumer marketing of Sanus, makers of entertainment furniture and TV wall mounts.

First, Hagberg advises consumers, be aware of the real weight of your flat-screen TV. A 32-inch flat screen can easily weigh 50 pounds, and larger ones may weigh more. Even ultra-thin models that are less than 1 1/2 inches thick may still weigh more than 40 pounds.

“That’s more than enough weight to cause injury if it falls on someone, especially if it tips or falls on a small child,” Hagberg says.

To minimize the risk of a TV tipping or falling, always properly secure it to appropriate furniture or mount it on the wall. TVs, especially flat screens, should never be placed atop dressers, bureaus, benches, boxes or folding tray tables. Instead, choose stable furniture made for displaying a TV, and always secure the top edge of the TV to the back of the furniture. The furniture itself should be secured to the wall, following the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Even properly constructed, appropriate furniture will be top heavy with a TV on it, so correctly securing it is essential. Look for products like Sanus’ Anti-Tip Strap that safely holds the flat screen in place by attaching the TV to the furniture and the wall behind it.

Wall mounting a flat screen is the safest option, and one that not only places the TV out of reach for little hands, but looks good, too. “When done properly with a high-quality mounting device, wall mounting a TV is much safer than placing the TV atop a piece of furniture,” Hagberg says.

Look for a product, like Sanus’ VisionMount series, which incorporates a wall plate that secures into the studs behind the wall, and attaches to the TV with mounting brackets. All mounts within the Sanus offering lock securely to the wall and all are listed by Underwriters Laboratories, an independent organization that subjects products to rigorous safety testing.

“The safest, most practical mode of displaying a flat-screen TV and all its components (DVR, video game, cable or satellite receiver, etc.) is to mount the TV on the wall and place the components beneath it on a piece of furniture specifically designed for that purpose,” Hagberg says. To learn more about options for safely mounting your TV, visit

Courtesy of BPT

Want to get paid to go to the gym? Become a personal trainer

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

One upside to the burgeoning obesity epidemic is that it’s fueling the growth of jobs in the fitness industry.

Whether you’re one of those people in need of a personal trainer or you’re looking for work in a dismal job market, the bureau of labor statistics reports “employment of fitness trainers and instructors is expected to grow by 24 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations.”

According to Jeff Rosga, director of education at Life Time Academy, the training and certification organization for Life Time The Healthy Way of Life Company, weight loss is a primary driver for people who seek out a personal trainer. “There is a very large population of boomers with the economic means to hire a personal trainer,” he adds. “Their requirements are substantial; they want a high-quality experience in training as well as in-depth knowledge. Some are injured, have functional issues, or simply want to be more physically active, and need assistance in learning how to overcome their challenges.” 

Demand for personal training is also getting a boost as businesses and insurance companies see the relationship between healthier employees and lower health care costs by persuading employees and members – by virtue of various incentives – to get fit.

Phyllis Soltis, 59, from Lakeville, Minn., has worked in administration and was even a police officer at one time. She was drawn to personal training while a member of Life Time Fitness, where she lost 70 pounds. “All the jobs I’ve had involved working with people,” Soltis says. Exercise, too, had always been a part of her life, and as she considered what sort of job change she could make at her age, she turned to personal training and applied to Life Time Academy.

Choosing the right certification program matters. “When you earn a certification you are directly linked to the certification body,” says David Van Daff, vice-president of business development and public affairs with the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). “The reputation of the certification, both positive and negative, will impact how you are perceived as a fitness professional.”

Choosing the right personal training certification can be confusing says Van Daff, who recommended the following considerations when choosing a program:

1. Industry standards: Earning a certification that is not accepted by respected employers is a waste of time and money. Contact local fitness centers and ask what certifications they accept. If a certification is not universally accepted, don’t buy it.

2. Curriculum/faculty: What you study and learn in a certification program should have practical application. In addition, research the credentials and reputation of the faculty. Evaluate their background, accomplishments, testimonials and contributions to the industry.

3. Advanced specializations: Most successful personal trainers specialize in a particular area. Investigate what specialty credentials and certifications are offered by the certification organizations you are considering.

4. References: Ask a manager at a fitness facility which certifications best prepare new personal trainers. Having managed personal trainers with varying certifications and education backgrounds, they can provide insight into the value of various certification programs.

A NASM study found that certified personal trainers who were not previously employed in the fitness industry, on average found employment in less than one month. That was true for Soltis, who graduated from Life Time Academy in December and was immediately employed at Life Time Fitness in Eagan, Minn. Soltis says one of the benefits at Life Time Academy were the weekly in-club labs, something not offered by many other programs. The 120 hours of hands-on experience allowed her the confidence to go from student to trainer seamlessly.

“I have specialty certifications through the Academy’s partnership with NASM in corrective exercise and performance enhancement,” Soltis says. Other partners include Yoga Alliance, American Council on Exercise, and Peak Pilates. She said she plans to use her knowledge in power lifting training and competitions to attract a clientele of “women of a certain age” who want to strength train. “Weight loss is a big one too, because of my own experience. I understand it from a personal perspective,” she adds.

Pay for noncertified personal trainers range from $18,000-$31,000. As a graduate of Life Time Academy Soltis knows she can expect to eventually earn more than $40,000 a year and the possibility to make more than she has in other jobs. “I see the potential to make more because there are no limits. It’s like being in business for yourself, but not by yourself.”

Courtesy of BPT